May 20th, 2013

Monthly Economic Report: May 2013


Prior to the release of the BLS’ latest jobs report, some financial experts predicted 140,000 jobs would be created in April, while others were even more positive, anticipating a rise in employment of 150,000.

Despite their optimism, economists’ projections were actually lower than the BLS’ published results, as 165,000 jobs were added to the national economy last month. Long-term unemployment decreased to 4.4 million, a decline of 258,000, when compared to March’s data. Since April 2012, the total number of long-term unemployed has decelerated by 687,000.

Even though the national underemployment rate rose to 13.9 percent and the average workweek for all employees on private non-farm payrolls decreased to 34.4 hours, April’s jobs report was quite positive for the most part. With total employment increasing by 293,000, and total unemployment declining by 83,000, the national jobless rate dropped to 7.5 percent, the lowest rate recorded since December 2008.

Recent jobs revisions were also very encouraging, as February’s total job creation rose from 268,000 to 332,000, the highest monthly total since May 2010. And March’s previously disappointing figures improved, rising to 138,000. As a result of these revisions, 208,000 new jobs have been generated per month, on average, since November 2012.

In fact, new jobs have now been added to the national economy every month since March 2010. A majority of these positions have been generated by the private sector.

Employment - April 2013

“The economy has now added private sector jobs every month for 38 straight months, and a total of 6.8 million jobs have been added over that period,” said Alan Krueger, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers. “Over 800,000 private sector jobs have been added over the last four months.”

Although we are still working toward full recovery, most of the results of April’s jobs report indicate that steady economic progress is occurring. Since January, unemployment has decreased by 673,000, while nonfarm payroll employment has risen by 169,000 per month, on average, since April 2012. In addition, average hourly earnings continued to progress in April, rising to $23.87, the sixth consecutive month of increases.


Although some private sectors, like information, reported job losses, a majority added employees to payrolls last month, including each of the following sectors.

  • Finance: After sector employment deteriorated by 2,000 in March, hiring rebounded last month, rising by 9,000, the highest monthly job creation total of 2013. To compare, since January, the sector has added an average of 5,000 new jobs to the national economy per month.
  • Healthcare: Hiring remained robust in April, rising by 19,000, as 14.53 million healthcare professionals were employed. As usual, a majority of the hiring occurred in ambulatory healthcare services, which generated 13,600 new jobs.
  • Leisure and Hospitality: Employment continued to upswing within the sector last month, as 43,000 professionals were hired. In all, 14.1 million professionals were employed, mostly within food services and drinking establishments.
  • Professional and Business Services: Back in March, economists were quite pleased with the sector’s employment figures, as hiring rose by 51,000. The upsurge continued in April, as 73,000 new jobs were created, a considerable improvement when compared to recent job growth trends. Since April 2012, the sector has added 48,917 jobs to the economy per month, on average.
  • Retail Trade: With employment deteriorating substantially in March, as 24,100 job losses were recorded, some economists did not anticipate strong employment figures in April. But, to their surprise, total employment rose by 29,300, as most new hires occurred in general merchandise stores.
  • Temporary Help Services: The sector has reported steady job growth since February. Last month, 30,800 hires were documented, leading to a total of 67,100 new hires since early February.

Sector Changes

Positive jobs report eases fear of slowdown in U.S.
Source: The Seattle Times

A surprisingly positive jobs report Friday showed that employers added 165,000 positions in April and the unemployment rate fell to a four-year low of 7.5 percent, sparking a day of milestones on Wall Street as investors looked past doubts about robust hiring in the months ahead.

The report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics sent stocks soaring at the open, partly because it exceeded low expectations but also because it included sharp upward revisions to February and March job estimates, adding a combined 114,000 jobs to those earlier tallies.

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IBM Awarded $123M VA Contract for New SaaS HR System
Source: eWeek

IBM announced it has been awarded a 10-year $123 million contract by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to replace the agency’s 50-year-old legacy human resources application with a new system delivered in a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model.

IBM will deliver what it refers to as a first-of-its-kind private-sector HR technology solution for the U.S. federal government. IBM has been selected as the HR Line of Business (LOB) Shared Services Center (SSC) provider for the VA and will build, operate and maintain a new HR system to be deployed across the enterprise to deliver a standardized and interoperable human resources experience.

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